- The Institute of Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz was one of four founding institutes in 1965 at the former Linz College of Social Sciences and Economics (founding Professor for Social Research: Dr. Erich Bodzenta).
- A completely new concept in Austrian academia, the college was initially designed as a college specifically for the study of social sciences. In 1966, the college began offering academic degree programs in Sociology, Social Economics, Economics, Business Administration and Law.
- The current joint institute was established in 1966 and focused on three main areas: empirical research, theory & social philosophy and economic sociology (at the time they were each as separate institutes). In 1973, the institute expanded to include political sociology (today's Department of Politics & Development Research).
- From the beginning to the present day, the Institute of Sociology has significantly contributed to the internationally renowned reputation of social sciences at the Johannes Kepler University. Furthermore, the institute has substantially influenced the development of sociology and social research in Austria.
The departments rooted within the former structural organization include:
- Empirical Social Research, Head of Department: 1965 Dr. Erich Bodzenta († 1996), 1972 Dr. Kurt Holm, since 2004 Dr. Johann Bacher;
- Economic Sociology, Head of Department: 1966 Dr. Friedrich Fürstenberg, 1982: Dr. Hanns-Peter Euler; since 2010 Dr. Susanne Pernicka;
- General Sociology and Social Philosophy, Head of Department: 1966 Dr. Jakobus Wössner († 1975), 1978 DDr. Otto Nigsch, 1983 Dr. Josef Gunz, 2004 Dr. Meinrad Ziegler, since 2008 Dr. Brigitte Aulenbacher;
- Political Sociology, Head of Department: 1973 Dr. Günter Dux, 1976 (expanded to include development sociology) Dr. Klaus Zapotoczky, 2006 Dr. Raina Zimmering, since 2013 Dr. Karin Fischer.
- In 1978, the joint Institute of Sociology was created when the 1975 University Organisation Act was enacted. Since then, the institute consists of the following four departments which are all rooted in the above-mentioned founding institutions:
- Department of Empirical Social Science Research AES (established 1978);
- Department of Politics and Development Research APE (established 1999);
- Department of Theoretical Sociology and Social Analysis TSS (established 1999);
- Department of Economic and Organizational Sociology WOS (established 2011).
- APE was previously called the "Department of Political Sociology and Development Research" (1978-1998).
- TSS was previously called the "Department of Sociological Theory, Educational Sociology and Communications Research" (1978-1994) as well as "Sociological Theory, Educational Sociology and Communication Studies" (1994-1998);
- WOS was previously called "Economic Sociology and Urban & Regional Studies" (1978-2010).